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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Line Adjustments aim to Provide Boost

Wednesday, 10.22.2008 / 12:37 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Line Adjustments aim to Provide Boost

Yesterday was the power play’s turn to have a different look.  Today, those changes carried over to even strength.

Paul Branecky
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Continuing with what worked in the team’s last game against Anaheim, Rod Brind’Amour centered a line with Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen, while Eric Staal played with Sergei Samsonov and Patrick Eaves, who is back on a scoring line after bouncing around the lineup in the early going.

It’s the first time in recent memory that Ray Whitney and Eric Staal have been split up.  That change seems to be designed to balance the overall scoring a little bit more, as both of those players have done their part with six and five points through the first two games, respectively, to pace the Canes in scoring.  “The Weapon” (no longer secret), Niclas Wallin, is tied with Staal for second place.

One benefit of the changes could be more involvement from players like Samsonov and Eaves.  They’ve combined for only one point so far - an assist by Eaves on opening night.  I think Samsonov in particular has looked fine so far, and his points will come.  The recent changes may speed that up - both players had their chances in the Anaheim game.

”I think it’s just a balance to get all the lines contributing, just to give it a different look since we had lost a couple of games,” said coach Peter Laviolette.  “Roddy and Whit played together for a year and a half, and the year they played together they were both the leading scorers.  Staal has had some success with Samsonov, and hopefully we can generate offense from more than just one player and do it from multiple lines and the back end.”

Brandon Sutter’s line with Ryan Bayda and Chad LaRose remained unchanged, while Wade Brookbank and Dan LaCouture rounded out an incomplete fourth line caused by Tuomo Ruutu’s continued absence – he skated on his own for a lengthy period prior to practice, but is unlikely to play tomorrow.

“I think at this point it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Laviolette of Ruutu.  “He’s been out for a while, this has been nagging, and I think to get through a practice and give him some time to make sure he’s 100 percent (will be good).  Then when he comes back, he’s here for good.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61